In a follow-up blog posting, Texas Watchdog’s Steve Miller quoted what he described as Locke’s “boilerplate response” to questions the Web publication submitted for its story of last week:
When I am mayor every decision I make will be based solely on what is best for Houstonians. I am proud of the broad coalition of support I enjoy in this race, but when I am elected my only debt will be to the city of Houston.Was that the entirety of his response? Not to be gratuitously crude, but that's some weak-ass shit, as the kids say.
Miller goes on to add
The city has some formidable power with regard to the authority, in that it appoints board members that shape its direction — which, in turn, affects taxpayers when a situation such as the possible use of public money to cover a bond-related shortfall arises. The story is a blue-skyer that we feel should be out there, akin to the items anyone should take into account before making a big decision. In this case, the voters can now add this to the list of “what ifs” before they make their final choice on Nov. 3.Hear, hear. And there’s more to it than that: What exactly is Locke’s financial arrangement with Andrews Kurth as of this moment (a question we believe that only Locke can answer, although if we're not mistaken all candidates for city office are supposed to have filed some general personal financial disclosure that covers the previous calendar year). And what would be his relationship with the firm if he’s elected mayor? (We presume he’d sever all relations, but we shouldn’t be too presumptuous.) Under a Locke mayoralty, would Andrews Kurth continue as general counsel to the Sports and Metropolitan Transit authorities, over whose boards the mayor, by virtue of his appointments, has, as Texas Watchdog put it, formidable power? Would Andrews Kurth act as counsel for city of Houston bond issues? And finally, would Locke plan to return to the firm after he’s done being mayor?
These questions should have been pitched at Locke months ago, but they’re clearly fair game now in light of the candidate’s TV ad, wherein Locke is identified as a “businessman” who “helped revitalize our downtown communities, creating thousands of god-paying jobs,” a claim accompanied by video of Metro’s rail line and Minute Maid Park. You can ignore the fact that neither of these projects is what you would call a triumph of free enterprise, or even what you would ordinarily call "business," and you can look the other way from the dubious assertion that these and other projects have created “thousands of good-paying jobs” (must be the magical “multiplier effect”). But it’s hard to get past the cold fact that Gene Locke is a lawyer, not a businessman, and what he “creates” is billable hours.
As you were, and carry on.
ADDENDUM: For what it's worth, Locke's latest campaign finance disclosure lists a $3,000 donation from California billionaire Phillip F. Anschutz of Anschutz Entertainment Group, 50-percent owner of the Dynamo and would-be promoter of the now-canceled but once-upcoming Michael Jackson tour. Locke reported receiving another $2,500 from Dynamo co-owner Brener Sports & Entertainment of Beverly Hills (the corporate PAC, we assume, although it's not listed as such) and $2,000 more from Brener-associated Oscar De La Hoya, a "self-employed boxer" from Los Angeles (and one of our favorite fighters of the past couple of decades) who has been reported to have some ownership interest in the local major-league soccer franchise. We know these are wholly meaningless and random acts of generosity and that all of these California-based parties are simply interested in enabling GOOD GOVERNMENT in Houston, Texas.